We have all found ourselves promising that we would take up healthy eating — either as a new year’s resolution or after a realization of how bad our health has become. However, staying motivated to do so is a big issue for most as they often stick to their plan for a few days – at most, a few weeks – only to revert to bad habits once again, sometimes with a vengeance! Fortunately, there are ways to maintain that motivation and help you see yourself through to adopting healthy eating as part of your lifestyle while resisting the urges to drop out. Here’s how:
Learn everything you can about the food that you eat. Read the ingredients labels of the food you consume, and whenever you come across ingredients you don’t know well, research and learn how they might impact your health. Knowing what you put into your body and what it is doing to your health is a good motivation for not consuming it. After all, if you know that something is basically poisoning your system, would you really want to consume it? You will find that the more you know about the food you eat, the more you will want to stick to cooking meals of your own and avoiding sauces, condiments, and junk food that are commercially produced — it just isn’t worth the synthetic ingredients! Of course, the idea here is not to become so intimidated by these foods that you become overwhelmed. Go easy and allow yourself to make the changes you can, and you will likely stick to them.
Find Your Motivation
What motivated your best friend, neighbor, or second cousin may not be what will motivate you. The trick to sticking to your plans and staying motivated is to find what drives you personally. We are all different and each person will have their own motivation that works for them. Perhaps, you like the idea of cutting down on the costs of health care or maybe you like to look or feel good, or perhaps you appreciate that you are not supporting factories who produce chemical compound-laden junk! There are many more notions to motivate you, but you need to sit down and carefully think about what will make you the happiest about eating well, and then draw your motivation form there.
Don’t Label ‘Bad’ Food
We all have either heard someone doing this or have done it ourselves – labeling food as “bad”. Saying that you shouldn’t eat something, that a particular food item is bad, or that something you enjoy eating will lead to your being sick, unhealthy, or fat will simply lead to developing a bad relationship with food. Labeling food as “bad” only makes you eat poorly because you may binge on those foods or overcompensate in another area for having avoided one food. Allowing yourself to eat whatever you want to eat will help you develop a healthier mindset to eating, and you will be less likely to overeat or make bad food choices. Of course, if you’re eating everything in sight and looking for more, it points to larger, deeper issues than just a bad relationship with food.
Hold Yourself Accountable to Someone
Processed foods are made to be addictive which is what makes it so difficult to give them up when you want to. This is what makes those weeks or days at the beginning of your transition into healthy eating challenging. Getting over the initial hill may be easier if you were holding yourself accountable to someone. Make it your responsibility to report to them on your progress, and be honest when you do so. After all, lying to them will only hurt your efforts and damage your plans, not theirs! Having to report to someone can go a long way in helping you stick to your goals.
At the end of the day, healthy eating is not a diet or something to be done for a few weeks or until you fit into that outfit you want to wear. It’s actually a lifestyle, and getting used to it gradually is what you need to aim for. When you mess up and eat something you know isn’t the healthiest, don’t beat yourself up about it or feel guilty. Move on, and accept that it’s part of life!